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Ascona 400R Build

Retro Power

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Right then, we are just getting stuck into the metalwork on Curt's Ascona 400R project (he posted a few pics of the car before it came here a while back), so I thought that would be a good point to start a thread on here to cover the build, start to finish.

The car is about average as Mantas and Asconas go, I'd say. Plenty of rot in the usual areas, but bootfloor and sills suprisingly good.

Here is the car as we got it.









First job, strip it down completely, and scrape off all the underseal... lovely job <_<





Then outside and a good going over with crushed glass from the blaster.




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Please do! These guys are awesome at what they do! That's why they got the job. Keep up the good work Cal n Nat!

How the car used to look before hand. http://forums.mantac...c/23770-ascona/

Thanks Curt cool.gif

After blasting the full extent of the corrosion is revealed, but on the plus side, it all looks more manageable when it's bare metal. Didn't bother blasting front floorpans as I know they are being replaced completely.









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Anyway, where to start!

We'll kick off with the driver's side a pillar/footwell/inner wing area... I've dug out an old (but mint) inner wing from a Manta, which we will use the back end of, and the rest will be fabricated. First job, cut out the bad metal and previous repairs.



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Reet, todays progress...

Finished cutting out the a panel and washer-bottle area properly and cleaned up the section of inner wing that is being let in...


then butt-welded in place...



Moving on to the washer-bottle area of the bulkhead, fabricated a piece to let in at the front to replace the old rotten metal, and welden in place.




Then for the harder part.... A panel. these sections are a bit scarse as replacement panels, so we're making them. First off, made up a template in heavy clear plastic (top tip this - easy to transfer details like depressions etc onto the plastic, as you can see through it!). Routed the depression shapes into some high-density rubber (an old security fence base in this case!) and then set about beating the panel to shape. a couple of hours later and she's ready for fitting :)




This area is taking shape now :thumbup



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Now that's some extra special frigging about! Got to say the repair looks goooood. Always a nasty ares to tidy up (and don't they always rust on that overlap there!)

Have you been saving these photo's up or do you actually work that quick?!!!

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Stradacab - yep they do ALWAYS rot on that nasty little corner joint!! I must admit its better redesigned really, which I usually do but we're trying to keep this "factory" wherever we can to keep it as faithful to a real 400 as we can.

Re. the pace of work...the photos of the car as it arrived, and the underseal stripping, are saved from a little while ago. The blasting was a couple of weeks ago, but the metalwork was only started properly today.

I did some cutting out and general "scoping the job", digging out useable inner wings etc on Saturday, then set to properly this morning, and to be honest progress today was VERY slow, as I had to make the formers to put the forms into the A-panel, and it was generally fiddly work.

Tomorrow should see the footwell on the drivers side finished, and then I will start the A panel area on the other side.

Get them out of the way then its floorpan replacement, jacking point replacement and chassis rail rebuild time, then rear rail work once they turn up from germany, then fab all the 400 rear end bits up (we're probably, if things go to plan re. sourcing the commo chassis members, making a "hybrid" axle on this, using commodore links etc but a 4HA axle casing and jag powr-loc diff, which means cheap lsd and unbreakable axle setup)

Following all that its roof replacement time to get rid of the sunroof.......

will keep it all up to date on here!



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Although we have our own blaster, for whole shells I get a guy in (its him in the glass cloud in the photos! ).

Its around £300 to do the full shell, not overly cheap, but he's a decent guy and he'll give it once over, then come and find us and get is to pick over it and mark up anywhere we want "snagging". We don't touch the "outer" panels with the blaster either, as it would wreck them with little bits of distortion everywhere.

We have a 10hp hydrovane that we use to power my own pressure pot blaster that I use in a booth for axles and subframes, wheels etc etc, and with a cabinet for little bits and bobs, but by gum you should see the compressor on our mobile man's truck!! Its powered by a 160hp deutz diesel engine, and its flat out with the blaster on full whack (hasten to add it ain't on full whack doing 'shells!!.)

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ok, another day done.

Started off by fabricating the outer edge and lip of the footwell, and plug welding this to the lip on the a-panel I made yesterday. Then made a start on the front of the a-pillar, recreating the joint between it and the a-panel. Did this in 2 sections the lower is already fitted in these pics....





Here is the upper section, before fitting. Curved lip stretched with just a hammer - must get a shrinker/stretcher one day!


....and here it is fitted.... very happy with this bit - looks factory.


Next cut out the floorpan on this side, removed the old jacking point and outer skin of the rail where it had rotten around the jacking point. The inner reinforcer is solid, as is the rear section of rail and the sill as you can see here...




Welded new jacking point in place, before offering up the replacment floorpan section. Cut to suitable size, cleaned everything up, joggled edges, punched holes all round, and then plug welded in. Not quite complete in these pics, but thats it for today. Off to the pub :thumbup







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ignore me if you already know this but the tube on the replacement jack points is smaller ID than the original! not a problem unless you want to retain the original Jack. If you still have old tubes then swap them over.

great work by the way, will be watching this one to pick up some more fabbing tips!!

Edited by upk
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ignore me if you already know this but the tube on the replacement jack points is smaller ID than the original! not a problem unless you want to retain the original Jack. If you still have old tubes then swap them over.

great work by the way, will be watching this one to pick up some more fabbing tips!!

oooh, interesting point! I very much doubt that Curt (the owner) will be bothered about the jack issue, but best to know in advance, cheers!! To be honest, I did think they looked "a bit different" but never looked into that, only worried about "adjusting" them to make them fit right!!

lovely al that fresh metal going in thumbsup.gif and some top of the bill work going on there blink.gif

When can I drop my hatch and coupe off? tongue.gif

Good luck with the rest of the build!

cheers for the complements!

got space in the workshop later in the year!biggrin.gif

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Not so much progress today, had to go and sort suits for my wedding later this year. My missus has done most (i.e. 99%) of the planning and sorting so far so thought I'd better get it sorted!

Got the welding of the O/S floorpan finished, all plugged on the inside to the rail, the surrounding floor and the bulkhead seam etc then seamed "in the joggle" underneath and ground flush. Finished off the bottom of the a pillar too and sorted the front end of the sill out.

Will post pics tomorrow once I've done a good day on it again!



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Reeeeet. Another day down and more progress - only a couple of pics though.

The offside floorpan is complete, just waiting for the rail repair sections to complete that area. Moved on to the nearside, a-panel fabricated, and back end of the inner wing repaired. It's not so bad on this side. will hopefully get most of it done today :thumbup



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a-panel/footwell and a-pillar repairs complete on the nearside now - on to the floorpan! go, go, go!


Random question.....

As I'm sure you'll all know, the footwells/a panels are different on each side, does anyone know why? obvious reason is something to do with pedals, so are they opposite sides on a LHD?

Edited by Retro Power
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ok, it's nearly 8PM on Good Friday - probably time to call it a day!

Cut out the nearside floorpan - joining the inner edge above the rail this side, as the front seam to the bulkhead is ok, and it will look neater from underneath with no visible joint at all. Cut the jacking point out, and the outer skin of the rail, and discovered the inner is a bit worse this side....



..... so folded up a new section of inner in 3mm steel and welded in. Just tacked at the front as I'll be replacing the whole 'swan-neck' section when the out panels arrive from Germany.



Then folded up a new section of outer rail, butt-welded to end of rear rail section, plugged to floorpan and plugged to inner reinforcer (after coating the inner with zinc weld-thru primer, as per all the seams and hidden sections)....





..... Very happy with the result, the join is virtually invisible. :cool

Now that's done, it's on with the jacking point this side.



Right, time for beer.


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